APR-1400 unit to begin commercial operation in early 2024
The first fuel loading has been completed for South Korea’s Shin-Hanul-2 nuclear power plant, owner Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Company (KHNP) said.
The indigenous 1,340-MW APR-1400 pressurised water reactor recently received an operating permit from the South Korean nuclear regulator paving the way for the milestone operation.
KHNP said fuel loading was completed on 18 September. It took eight days to insert 241 fuel assemblies in the reactor core of the unit.
The company said commercial operation is expected to begin after about six months of tests and trial runs. Reactor system performance and safety parameters will be assessed under normal operating temperature and pressure levels.
Major Turnaround In Energy Policy
Shin-Hanul-2 will be the 26th operational nuclear plant in the east Asian nation and its operation marks a major political turnaround in energy policy.
Former president Moon Jae-in’s policy had been to retire the country’s commercial reactors, which supply about 30% of its electricity generation, and refrain from building new ones.
By contrast, current president Yoon Suk-yeol is bullish on the need for South Korea to embrace nuclear energy. He has said building nuclear power plants is a global trend and essential to the reduction of carbon and energy security.
A twin unit, Shin-Hanul-1, began commercial operation in December 2022. Construction of Shin-Hanul-1 started in July 2012 and of Shin-Hanul-2 in June 2013.
The APR-1400 technology is the same that South Korea has exported for the four-unit Barakah nuclear power station in the United Arab Emirates.
South Korea has two other APR-1400 plants under construction at the Saeul nuclear station, formerly known as Shin-Kori. The government also wants to complete construction of two additional delayed plants – Units 3 and 4 – at Shin-Hanul.
Last year it announced that construction of the two plants would resume in 2025.